We had constant insight into what was going on in Belgium and Northern France from our staff in Belgium through our Rotterdam office. That information was of daily value to us in Washington because it revealed the increasing failure of German food and raw-material supplies. They, however, held fairly well to their guarantees concerning the native food supplies and our imports.
From time to time, I was able to correspond with Francqui, and these letters have considerable interest for their summations of the problems of the C.R.B. and the Comité National. These communications were infrequent, since they could only be transmitted when an opportunity free from German perusal was possible.
WASHINGTON, 24 January 1918
MY DEAR FRANCQUI:
Our situation when we started the Relief was one of anxiety only as to finance; later on we added the anxiety of shipping, and now we have to add another and even greater anxiety than either of the other two--and that is the food supply. . . .
In the matter of foodstuffs, the exportable balance of wheat from America [statistically] is exhausted. We have not the shipping to go to more remote markets. . . . You will be astonished to realize that I [as United States Food Administrator] am now putting the American people on a practical rationing of many of the commodities most urgently needed in Europe. . . .